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Aug 31, 2017

Businessman Omar Ortiz Dies in Accident on George Price Highway

Omar Ortiz

Well-known businessman Omar Ortiz left his home this morning en route to Galen University in Central Farm, Cayo, but he never arrived at his destination. Near the cut off to Mahogany Heights between miles thirty-one and thirty-two on the George Price Highway, Ortiz lost control of his vehicle on the slippery highway, flipped over and landed in a ditch. Witnesses say he was pulled out of the vehicle having sustained injuries to his neck. The forty-seven-year-old father of three was transported to Universal Health Care Partners in Belize City, but succumbed. The news of his sudden passing has stunned his family and friends; relatives say his wife is out of the country.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Omar Ortiz, Vice President, Galen University [File: June 17th, 2016]

“There is a need for us as educators to make sure that in our classrooms, we not only talk about issues that are affecting the world, but we talk about our national issues, making sure that we get down in the trenches and ensure that the students understand what it is that they are going to be asked to vote on and understand what their vote is going to bring about.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

…inspiring words from Omar Ortiz, the late Vice President of Galen University, during a forum on the referendum discussions in taking Guatemala’s unfounded territorial claim on Belize to the I.C.J.  But today, family and friends of well-known businessman mourn is untimely death following a road traffic accident on the George Price Highway. Around eight-thirty a.m., Ortiz was driving his Toyota Land Cruiser between miles thirty and thirty-one when he lost control of the vehicle and it flipped several times. The vehicle was extensively damaged and Ortiz was gravely injured. He was rushed to Belize Health Care Partners, but succumbed to his injuries an hour later.

 

Kevin Herrera

Kevin Herrera, Friend and Colleague

“It was a big shock Duane. Just settling in for the morning and getting a call that they are at the hospital. He’s been badly injured and trying to get him out, fly him out…and I realized that it was very, very serious. I went over to the hospital about thirty minutes after and by the time I got there, they said he had just passed.”

 

Ortiz had a passion for finance; up to his passing, he had been in that post as vice president since April of 2015 after joining the team at the Galen in November of 2014. Provost at the education institution, Doctor Eve Aird says that a memorial will be organized in his honor.

 

Eve Aird

On the Phone: Dr. Eve Aird, Provost, Galen University

“He was, for all intents and purposes, the captain of the financial ship that was steering Galen through financial strategic management and planning. He was a strong member of the Galen team who ensured that we had the resources to run our academic programs, to support our academic program and to manage the Galen ship.”

 

Even before opening his company ZITRO several years ago, Ortiz was known for his instrumental role in the turnaround at the Belize Chamber of Commerce. Between 2002 and 2009, he served as the Finance Manager at the institution, under the leadership of then C.E.O. and friend, Kevin Herrera.

 

Kevin Herrera

“In 2002, he joined me at the Chamber. I had come on at the end of 1997 and he joined me at the Chamber as the accountant/finance manager. We worked together up until 2008 when I left and I understand he left at 2009. And Omar worked with me very closely. He was a big part of the Chamber turnaround. When we got there, the Chamber was in significant financial problems and we worked very hard in getting it back and he was a big part of that process. We used to rely so much on him for the negotiating part; he loved to negotiate prices and getting the best deal and that was invaluable to us at the time.”

 

A businessman, a husband, a father, a brother and a friend, Omar will be remembered for his vibrant personality.

 

Kevin Herrera

“Belize really lost a very aggressive and good individual—someone who I think was a major contributor in terms of spirit, in terms of drive to the business community.  A very upbeat guy, a very upbeat guy; always the life of the room.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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3 Responses for “Businessman Omar Ortiz Dies in Accident on George Price Highway”

  1. Kriol Chicken says:

    NEVER EVER pull someone out of a crashed vehicle without first putting on a cervical collar to protect the injured spinal chord (unless the car is on fire.) Assume it is injured until a doctor can confirm otherwise. Moving a victim with a serious injury can cause more physical damage than the accident.

    Belize needs to teach some basic first aid to school children.

  2. Dennis says:

    It’s so tragic that Ortiz has lost his life in such a violent way. My thoughts go out to the family in this trying time. I think we should all start investing in what’s most important to us, the people we love. Such a shame.

  3. Timber says:

    RIP my friend. I hadn’t seen you for a while. I remember your entire family and when we were at primary school together where your Mom taught and we’d run around. Condolences to your family.

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